Interview With Rick Whispers

I admit I'm not the best at conducting an interview, but I figured I'd gfive it a try and see how it turns out.

Rick Whispers is an up and coming rapper whom I'm also on friendly terms with, so I thought he'd be a good first interview subject. We talked about doing an interview for a million months but it finally got done via AIM (me) to Sidekick (Rick, because he's a rapper and they all have Sidekicks). I hope you enjoy the interview, and if you do something interesting, feel free to get a hold of me, and I'll interview you too. It just may take a million months. (Pictures were taken from Rick's Myspace & Website. I'm really sorry no one was credited, but you know how it is.)

Mike Dikk: Would you like to introduce yourself?

Rick Whispers: My name is Rick Whispers, I'm a rapper from Albany New York and part of a crew called Pitch Control Music

Mike Dikk: Oh, That’s good! So how did you get into the rapping?

Rick Whispers: I got into freestyling at a young age with a group of kids I went to junior high school with. From there I began forming structured songs and recording demo tapes on karaoke machines, pause tape style with the beat playing on the first deck and recording live to the 2nd deck. From there I'd sell these out of my backpack at school for 3 dollars.

Mike Dikk: Are you from a rough area Rick Whispers? Do you have street credibility?

Rick Whispers: I was born in arbor hill and then my family moved to clifton park, into a trailer park. It’s not a particularly friendly neighborhood. As for "street credibility", when it comes to "the rap" I've paid my dues by battling people, and freestyled with nearly everyone in the area at some point or another.

Mike Dikk: Paying your dues is very important these days. How did you get the name Rick Whispers? I mean it doesn't particularly rhyme well with things. It's not as good as say, Matt the Fat Rat. That name rhymes with a lot of stuff.

Rick Whispers: When I was younger a friend of mine started calling me whispers, based off Jimmy Whispers from the movie A Bronx Tale. Eventually it evolved into Rick Whispers and was catchy enough to stay on this long, who am I to dispute longevity. Rhyming is so 1999 anyways.

Mike Dikk: In case you're ever in a rut, you can use this. I wrote it for you. "My name is Rick Whispers, I like Mister Mister and that Cure album, Japanese Whispers!"

Rick Whispers: Thank you very much. I’ll need to get your publishing info before the closing of this interview.

Mike Dikk: Oh it's ok. I'm a ghostwriter. I do it for free though, because I'm a great guy. Moving on, what was the first rap record/cassette/cd you ever bought?

Rick Whispers: Dj jazzy jeff and the fresh prince’s album "and in this corner" that tape is classic to me still.

Mike Dikk: See, i figured it would have been something like that and you would have just said "i don't remember" as to not reveal your first rap tape wasn't ice cube. Good job though.

Rick Whispers: These days everyone is so stuck on shouting out artists like G Rap and Kane in their influence list but never really listened to them coming up, Jeff and Prince were dope.

Mike Dikk: So what was your worst show like? Don't even say you've never had a bad show. Everyone has a bad show where they show up and there's like one person there and there are leaks in the ceiling and what not.

Rick Whispers: Ha. I have some horror stories, I used to do house parties where the mics would cut off, people would be getting jumped in the stairways.... one show in particular though sticks out. At Saratoga Winners (club near
Albany) about 2 years ago. I had my set lined up on a cd like usual unless DJ Ipod is kicking it with me on tour, anyway... the cd started skipping mid set in front of a crowd who wasn't really excited to be there in the first place and it wouldn't stop...I had to stop the CD and tell stories, jokes, and do the rest of my set acapella. Anyone who was at this show, I love you all.

Mike Dikk: I can't even imagine what it's like to be a rapper and play Saratoga Winners, especially if it's kind of empty. It sucks enough when you're a band, but then at least you have 4 other dudes who have to suffer with you.

Rick Whispers: Acoustically speaking, the venue is anti rap.

Mike Dikk: it's anti-a lot of music…It wasn't a pay to play show was it? You’re not slumming it that hard, are you?

Rick Whispers: As per Icon The Mic King my motto is ‘fuck you pay me.’

Mike Dikk: Well good. Those shows are sad. So your new record is out. Is it MOVING UNITS???

Rick Whispers: It is doing very well, the record is called ‘Awed by the Backdrop’ which features Mac Lethal of Rhymesayers Ent., L.I.F.E. Long of Stronghold, Awar, Dezmatic and Shyste all of my crew PCM. It’s for sale at www.rickwhispers.com as well as Tower records and any digital download site you can think of... Itunes, etc.. I also released another record at the same time which is a 9 song ep titled While You Slept.

Mike Dikk: well I'm glad to hear it's doing well and you've managed to hustle your way into the digital music game. One time I read someone's shirt and it said 90% grind, 10% shine and truer words have never been spoken.

Rick Whispers: I agree.....

Mike Dikk: i have some actual serious questions...Hip Hop is kind of weird. There’s people that just want to make lots of money, then there’s underground rappers, and i never know their motives. Do you want to blow up and be on MTV and stuff or is that not for you?

Rick Whispers: You can have talent, you can be the dopest rapper ever. If you don't do things for yourself or work to accomplish things with your music, you will go nowhere. With any genre of music I've met people that wanted other people to do the work while they lay in the cut and get "famous".
It’s a tough call. When you say ‘blow up’, I believe there are different ideas of what that consists of. Do I want to be famous?? I'd be stupid to be in this business and say no to that. Why, you might ask. Simple, famous people sell records. If I could have complete creative control over my art from start to pressing of the record, and receive backing from major outlets such as MTV I'd be a liar if I said I'd turn it down.

Mike Dikk: yeah, thats a smart way to answer it, but are you happy just rapping? Like, would you feel like a failure if you don't "get famous?"

Rick Whispers: Absolutely not. If I can sell one cd, do one show where one individual from the crowd was moved or inspired by what I have to offer thru my music then I feel accomplished. No label owns my soul, this is the way I prefer it. I've turned down "deals" from labels in the past, due to the fact that nobody can look out for my career better than myself. I'm content selling cds hand to hand to true fans of hip hop. At the end of the day, I'm happy, because I love rapping/writing/performing.

Mike Dikk: You are such a standup guy Rick Whispers. I know you recently competed in the Scribble Jam MC Battle thing. I know it's not as heralded as it used to be, but what's that like? Do any big name dudes still show up for that?

Rick Whispers: Its a good time had by all. The whole crew goes out every year for the trip. The Mc battle was a good experience for me. Different rappers from all over the globe. I'd go as far as to say its one of the most prestigious battles in the world. As far as people who have gigantic fan bases for selling recorded projects, nobody like that entered this year. C Rayz Walz from stronghold gave me the best advice I've ever gotten for battling. I had an hour long talk with him about battling before I had to go on. For those of you who don't know, C Rayz beat Supernatural and is the nicest battle emcee in the game right now. Respect due. Murs was hosting the battle and he’s a good call for that. Pumpkinhead hosted the prelim battles the day before and both aforementioned artists were having a field day calling for double eliminations when both rappers were garbage. Haha. Classic.

Mike Dikk: seriously, how much of it on your part is freestyle? i've seen videos and a lot of dudes seem to be real quick thinkers, but a lot of it, like the framework has to be planned out a little before hand, right?

Rick Whispers: If you knew you were going to fight in a war, would you leave your gun at home, and just rely on your hands?

Mike Dikk: Haha good answer. That kind of stuff just seems ridiculously hard to me. I mean I forget words all the time and I have far less words to memorize than a rapper does. Do you ever forget a line on stage?

Rick Whispers: It happens to everyone from time to time, the difference is some rappers can't count bars let alone freestyle in them. It’s real hard to keep an audience from noticing if you freeze up and don't keep rapping.

Mike Dikk: That’s why famous rappers have hype men. Ok a couple quick things, and then I'm going to wrap this up. Are there any records you're listening to that you think people should check out?

Rick Whispers: Yes, check out the new Recon record, Smiff n Wessun ‘Dah Shinin’, Gym Class Heroes new album, Norma Jean ‘Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child.’

Mike Dikk: Wow, way to ruin your street cred!!! HAHA JAY KAY!!...second to lastly, what's up with your stunna shades? Are you working on some hyphy tracks?

Rick Whispers: They keep the sun out of my eyes.

Mike Dikk: Haha, ok, do you have any shout outs or closing comments or whatever people do at the end of interviews?

Rick Whispers: Pitch Control Music, Rob Viktum, Travis from Gym Class Heroes, In Unrest, Icon the Mic King, Hangmen, Recon, and Jam Faction. Also, to anyone who has supported or will support what I do in the future, I thank you very much, without you I just talk over drums. www.myspace.com/houseofhearts www.pitchcontrolmusic.net

Mike Dikk: Thank you Rick Whispers, may all your wildest dreams and fantasies come true.

Rick Whispers on YouTube